Title: Humans, Bow Down
Authors: James Patterson & Emily Raymond
Genre: Dystopian Sci-fi
Rating: 1.5 of 5
It took just three days for the robots (hu-bots) to seize power and slaughter most of humanity. The remaining humans either serve as “reformed” slaves in The City or live as “savages” (mostly drug and alcohol addled delinquents) on The Reservation. Our story follows one such delinquent (first person narration) and one hu-bot detective (third person limited omniscient narration) tasked with finding her after she and her thuggish meathead friend steal a car (or is there another ill-explained reason?! Dun-dun-DUN!).
Whether this whole robots slaughtering/enslaving/ghetto-ing humans is a somewhat localized situation or global is unclear. The author seems to want to convey the impression that it is global, but all the action centers on a very small geographic area and there is little or no reference to what might be going on anywhere else in the world (Other cities and reservations? Mad Max style anarchy? Uninhabitable wasteland? Isolationism to contain the robot threat within North America? Who knows!). A similar lack of precision prevails throughout the book – characters suddenly know a crucial piece of information, survive an unsurvivable situation, have a radical changes of heart, or suddenly become central to the story with very little explanation or reason for doing so (other than it is needed to advance the story). Shoehorn in a transgender hu-bot and a hint of lesbian romance (to get the proper token diversity, I suppose), sprinkle on some glaring errors (e.g. referring to a speedometer as an Odometer, having a character call her best friend by the wrong name, etc.), narrate the entire thing in the present tense (which I personally find grating), and you have this very disappointing book.